A long- awaited project has been approved in the region, one that will provide broadband for people from High Prairie, AB all the way to Watino, AB and beyond.

Smoky River Regional Economic Development has been working tirelessly to secure funds to help bring broadband into the region, to provide quicker internet service to the region.

“The project started with a regional committee led by Big Lakes, where they hired a consultant to start the project,” says Economic Development executive director Diane Chiasson.

“They then asked Smoky River Regional Economic Development to apply for a grant to continue the work to pursue acquiring broadband in the area.”

Chiasson explains SRRED looked at various options to bring the service to the region including putting in infrastructure that each municipality could run and use as a source of revenue. They also looked at a co-operative arrangement, but both proved to not be viable options.

“Our MLA approached me and told me about Canadian Fiber Optics, an Alberta company, that may be an option for us,” says Chiasson.

“They contacted me shortly after and we started working with them as a region. The project includes Big Lakes, High Prairie, and the entire Smoky River Region.”

Chiasson says Canadian Fiber Optics was working on a project called Aurora, and they decided to include the Smoky River Region in their project.

“We helped apply for a big provincial grant to help fund the initiative to bring better service to the area,” says Chiasson.

“Sometimes it takes a long time for the government to look over all the applications, but we were happy to hear that we were selected for the Alberta Community Partnership grant,” she adds.

“We are happy to announce that fiber optic internet will soon be available in the area,” says Chiasson.

“The grant will bring it into Guy and Jean Cote, but the other municipalities will have the option to connect.”

Open houses will be conducted as soon as April to inform the public of their options and potential cost.

Chiasson adds the monthly cost will be $89 for 100 megabytes of upload and download speed, but connectivity costs will be presented at those meetings.

More information will be provided in upcoming months to interested residents.

Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – South Peace News – southpeacenews.com

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 03:30